Fatima and the Theology of the Body: Part II

fire in hands 2In honor of Mary, I’ve chosen to focus my columns this month on what I consider an intriguing connection between the messages of Fatima and John Paul II’s Theology of the Body (TOB). In the previous column, I explained how the assassination attempt on John Paul II was a fulfillment of the “third secret” of Fatima. Coincidentally, the day he was shot – May 13, 1981 – was not only the annual memorial of Fatima, it was also the day he had planned to establish his Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. Could it be that there were forces at work that did not want John Paul II’s teaching to reach the world?

Part of Mary’s message in Fatima was that “Russia would spread her errors throughout the world.” However, “In the end,” she said, “my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” When we hear of the errors of Russia, we rightly think of the spread of communism. But communism has roots that go deeper than Marxist economic theory.

Karl Marx, 1818-1883

Karl Marx, 1818-1883

As most of us learned in school, Marx considered class struggle to be the defining factor of history. But digging deeper, Marx also believed that the fundamental “class struggle” was found in monogamous marriage and, indeed, in the sexual difference itself. “The first division of labor,” Marx co-wrote with Friedrich Engels, “is that between man and woman for the propagation of children.” In turn, Engels affirmed that Marxist theory “demands the abolition of the monogamous family as the economic unit of society” (see The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State ).

It seems the deeper revolution — and, I would contend, the deeper “error of Russia” — is the one aimed at destroying marriage and the family. Indeed, those who seek to deconstruct sexuality in the modern world often draw straight from Marx. As feminist author Shulamith Firestone wrote in The Dialectic of Sex : “Just as the end goal of socialist revolution was … the elimination of the … economic class distinction itself, so the end goal of feminist revolution must be … the elimination of … the sex distinction itself [so that] genital differences between human beings would no longer matter culturally.” Welcome to the deep-seated sexual confusion in which we’re now immersed.

But here’s the good news: Just as John Paul II’s vision of the human person inaugurated a new kind of revolution that led to the fall of communism, his TOB has also inaugurated a new kind of revolution that will, I believe, lead to the collapse of the dominant sexual ideology.

In his book The Last Secret of Fatima , Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone wrote: “The Communist system seemed invincible, and it looked as if it were going to endure for centuries. But then the whole thing collapsed like a house of cards.” Perhaps we can expect the same with the deeper “error of Russia.” Indeed, in the Book of Revelation, the “whore of Babylon” — that mysterious feminine figure who mocks the Bride of the Lamb — is brought to ruin in “one hour.” And as she collapses, all the merchants who “gained their wealth from her” (think the porn industry, Planned Parenthood, etc.) “weep and mourn” (Rv 18).

And then comes the triumph of the New Jerusalem, the Bride who has “made herself ready” for her Bridegroom. She is dressed in “fine linen, bright and immaculate ” (Rv 19:7-8). She is “clothed with the sun” (Rv 12:1). This radiant Bride, of course, is personified in Mary. “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” What does this mean? In short, it means that purity of heart will triumph. Somehow the pornographic lies will be redeemed . All of “Babylon’s” distortions will be untwisted and we will come to see the human body as it really is — as a glorious sign of “the mystery hidden from eternity in God” (TOB 19:4).

By showing us the path to authentic purity (never to be confused with puritanism or prudishness!), John Paul II’s TOB paves the way for Mary’s triumph. Is it a coincidence that John Paul began writing his TOB on the feast of the Immaculate Conception? Is it a coincidence that he devoted the entire work to “Mary, all beautiful?” Is it a coincidence that she saved his life on the memorial of Fatima so that his teaching could reach the world?

Let us pray for the triumph of the Immaculate Heart. It may be closer than we realize. Already in 1994, John Paul wrote that Mary’s words spoken in Fatima “seem to be close to their fulfillment” (Crossing the Threshold of Hope , p. 221). Let it be, Lord, according to your word.

Christopher West


Christopher West is a Catholic author and speaker, best known for his work on Pope John Paul II’s series of audience addresses entitled the Theology of the Body.

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  • stutmann9

    The assassination attempt on the life of John Paul II was NOT the fulfillment of Fatima! Fatima is NOT over! The message is STILL to be proclaimed, to stop sinning, to do penance, pray the Rosary every day and do the Five First Saturdays of Reparation to Mary for offenses committed against her Immaculate Heart. Fatima does not belong to the past, but to the present! More people need to hear of it and embrace it for the Immaculate Heart of Mary to TRIUMPH!

  • A heart becomes Immaculate when it love Jesus, a marriage becomes Immaculate when it is centered on the love of Christ. Mary’s heart is Immaculate because it embraced her Son.

    I love you, centers marriage on a spouse, whose love is imperfect do to sin, not perfect like Christ love. It is time we turn our hearts away from fallen hearts of Adam and Eve, to the restored and Immaculte hearts of Joseph and Mary.

    When we meditate on the fifth Joyful mystery of the rosery, we learn this is the work of the Father, the resoration of marriage through the Incarnation of His Son.

  • Andy0

    The Immaculate Heart of Mary will TRIUMPH! God our Father is Victorious, the question is will we be triumphant and victorious in life to warrant God’s love and everlasting life?

    Theology of the Body speaks for itself! A true revelation of Gods true love, pened by human hand through the power of the Holy Spirit.


  • Dustinthe Wind

    Amen !!!! Mary is the gift God gave man to help us understand what it is to be pure of heart. I grew up inundated with porn. It completely destroyed my understanding of self and women. As I battled back I had to fight impure thoughts even while praying the rosary. So many men I talked to also had the same issue…but they gave up. I pressed on…separating the thoughts, or better yet isolating those thoughts as something other then me because they were compulsory not voluntary. This awoke for me the gravity and consequence of my sin. I did not hide in shame of my sin…but brought it into the light before Mary. Fix me I’m broken is all I had to say because she loves us that much. And slowly the thoughts began to fade. Thank you Mary for being my Mom and loving me back to health. God Bless !,

  • Laurettas

    I think that far too much time has been spent focusing on the political/economic errors of Russia and much too little time has been given to the errors of Russia that are mentioned here. I believe that Russia was the first country to legalize abortion in 1920, it “liberated” women by putting them in the workforce and began state run daycare programs to “care” for the few children that were born.

    All of these things were forced upon the Russian people and we are now seeing the full flowering of the damage done. Massive population implosion, rampant alcoholism, etc. But instead of heeding these signs, we in the West began demanding as rights all of the things that were forced upon the Russian people. Women are demanding equal rights to work outside the home, push for state run daycare, unlimited abortion, etc. Who, pray tell, will be judged more harshly: the people who had all of these things forced upon them by their government or those who are demanding them as rights?

    We can sit at our computers and quibble about whether or not the Third Secret has been fully revealed or not, or we can get out in the world and, like Christopher West, proclaim to the world the beauty of the truth about human sexuality. As a woman, I saw the liberation to be had in a marriage if one followed the truth contained in Theology of the Body. That people spend time quibbling over the silly things they do that Mr. West spends almost no time on, e.g. anal sex, and ignore the beauty contained in the fullness of his message is tragic to me.

    I know for a fact from talking with older Catholics, that these “ideas” for which Mr. West is condemned were taught by priests before he was even born. He has explained on more than one occasion that those ideas are not his but are representative of the accepted thought on these matters in the Church. Anyone who thinks that he spends his time talking about “creative” sexuality in marriage, has not listened to him.

    I have listened to probably 8 of his series of talks as well as read several of his books. There is basically no time given to that topic but hours are spent on helping us to understand the gift of self that is to be the core of sexual expression, the destruction to a relationship that lust causes in a marriage, the beauty of being open to life, etc. etc. Rather than spending time condemning Christopher West for what one has heard he is teaching, one might sit down and listen to him personally. You might be very surprised. You will probably be offended because he is calling us to a standard that is very daunting–to lay down our lives in sacrifice for the other.

  • Gemechu

    We are expecting Part III, Christopher, keep up the good work

  • chaco

    Holy – Holy – Holy Redemption ! I too was tangled in the “Web of addiction”. But, like the Sheperd who breaks the leg of the wandering lamb in order to carry it on His shoulders – thus, creating a bond that prevents it from wandering, I too was saved from myself. As well as carrying me on His shoulders, He placed me in the healing embrace of “Our Mama”; Out of desperation, I tried the “Rosary Seed” planted in my younger years which resulted in my “Drowning in a Flood” of Amazing Grace. This Grace eventually supplied me with a Quick – Readily available tool for rebuilding a Godly Love for women; E.P.L.S. (sounds like apples which reminds me of Garden of Eden sin) E ternal – P eace & L ove – S ister. This Godly Love for women that I have nurtured, and am still nurturing, is much sweeter than the “Web of Addiction” ; Somewhat like savoring the delectable pleasure of a sumptuous “Cookie” rather than gormandizing the whole “Cookie Jar”. [ My love for “Sisters” is distinct from my love for “Brothers” ; My meager attempt at describing it is; Distinct from the “Unleashed Libido” one directs toward a spouse, there is a “Procreative Energy” between differring genders always & everywhere. It “Creates” a sweetness of energy & excitement for life. Immodest fashions & debauchery (alcohol/ drugs) cause this sweetness to “Spin out of Control”. ]